I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was 9 years old. It was during college that I really began to understand what it meant to be God’s child and to experience the joy and peace He alone can give.
After college, I worked at DisneyWorld for a year as an attraction host in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
I then moved back north to York Pennsylvania where I was a park ranger in the county park system for 3 years.
I quickly discovered that I was not made to be a park ranger, too much law enforcement and I’m not the law enforcement type. So I began looking for work with a full time christian ministry here in America. I found several wilderness camp counselor positions, one in Florida and one in North Carolina. That summer, one year after becoming a park ranger, I took a vacation, working for two weeks at Disney World and then visiting these two camps. I especially liked the camp in Florida. It was a Florida sheriffs youth ranch for delinquent boys. As I left the camp, the director offered me a job as camp counselor. I told him I needed to pray about it for a week.
I got back up to Pennsylvania and earnestly sought God’s guidance. The main thing that was holding me back from leaving York was a Royal Ambassadors boys mission group I had helped establish at church. Five or six boys and I met every Saturday and learned about missions, did crafts, went on hikes etc..
The group had only been meeting for about 7 months and although I had asked for other men to help with the group, none volunteered. I hated the idea of leaving the boys without a leader. At the end of the week though, I had not really felt any clear leading from the Lord and decided that I couldn’t take being a park ranger anymore and that I would call the camp director in Florida on Monday and accept the position.
The next day was Saturday and we had a Royal Ambassadors meeting. At the end of the meeting, as the boys were leaving, one of the boys tugged at my sleeve and asked me, “Mr. Mike, how much longer are we going to be having Royal Ambassadors?”. It was like an arrow piercing my heart. These boys knew nothing about my thoughts about leaving, why did he ask that question? I knew that God had placed the question in that little boy and my response internally was, how much longer will there be Royal Ambassadors if I leave? Sure, other men may volunteer to take it over, but none had volunteered yet.
I decided that I would stay in York at the park ranger job until more men stepped forward and volunteered to take over the group. I didn’t tell people I was hoping to leave as soon as more leaders were found. I decided to leave it in God’s timing. He would put the desire to work with the boys on the hearts of the men He wanted in His time.
I waited two years for more men to volunteer to help with the group. During that time, I began reading missionary biographies of men like Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor and Jim Elliot. I saw that missionaries are normal Christians who are willing to let God lead them wherever He wishes. At the same time, I was getting more and more into God’s word and learning the amazing story of how it was translated into the English language. Towards the end of the 2nd year of waiting, my oldest sister gave me a book which she told me I should read. The book was “The Word That Kindles” by George Cowan and tells the story of how Wycliffe Bible Translators came into being. As I read the book, I sensed that becoming a Bible translator with Wycliffe was what God had planned for me. Shortly after reading this book, two men volunteered to help with the Royal Ambassadors group and I took this as God’s green light to begin the application process of joining Wycliffe.
I quit my park ranger job and was accepted by Wycliffe in 1991. I spent a year learning linguistics at the Summer Institue of Linguistics in Dallas Texas and it is there that I met Wendy!
God has blessed us so much in the past 18 years. He has always met our needs and has guided us through many tough situations. God’s word has been so important in our lives. Without the Bible, we could not know God or His son Jesus. 200 million people still wait to have God’s word in their language. That is why we are with Wycliffe to help in bringing God’s message of love to those that still wait.